By Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney
Last week, House Republicans voted to rob millions of Americans of affordable healthcare when they passed the so-called American Health Care Act, also known as Trumpcare. This bill, should it become law, will devastate our healthcare system, drive up healthcare costs, and cause enormous harm to millions of American families. It also has several pieces that single out New York, making it particularly harmful to our state. That’s why dozens of medical associations, patient advocates and public health experts joined me and every single Democrat in the House to oppose this bill and it’s why I hope this bill goes nowhere in the U.S. Senate.
Trumpcare is probably one of the most damaging and devastating bills to pass the House during my time in Congress. It will result in at least 24 million Americans, including 2.7 million New Yorkers, losing their healthcare coverage. For those that do not lose coverage, Trumpcare dramatically increases your out-of-pocket health costs – including premiums, deductibles, and other copays. The average marketplace enrollee will see costs rise by $3,174 in 2020 and individuals with incomes below 250 percent of the poverty line will see their costs increase by $4,815.
The bill is even worse if you are over 50 years old. Trumpcare allows insurance companies to impose a new age tax for people who are between 50 and 64 years old. If you fall into that range, your premiums will be five times higher than what others pay for health coverage, no matter how healthy you are. Trumpcare also steals $75 billion from the Medicare Trust Fund, shortening its lifespan and cutting funding for services that seniors depend on.
Trumpcare not only raises costs and takes away coverage; it also worsens the coverage you can buy. Under Trumpcare, states can allow insurance companies to, once again, deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and charge women higher premiums for being women. Planned Parenthood is also defunded under the Trumpcare. When you add this up, it will make it all but impossible for millions of Americans fighting illness to afford the coverage they desperately need.
And if higher costs, worse coverage and millions losing insurance weren’t enough, Trumpcare would be particularly devastating to New Yorkers. Due to a provision in the bill that only targets New York, our state will lose nearly $7 billion in federal Medicaid funding for our state, a critical lifeline to seniors in nursing homes and low-income families that cannot afford insurance. The eight hospitals located in the district I represent stand to lose nearly $137 million in federal funding by 2020. Across the state, these cuts will force hospitals to close their doors or cut services, denying health care to our most vulnerable neighbors.
The American Health Care Act is not a “care” act at all. This bill rips away health care from millions of Americans and will cause sure and certain harm to millions more, leaving many with nowhere to go for care. Our number one priority as members of Congress must be to keep Americans safe, but this bill a mockery of that solemn responsibility.